Group Gathers at Paducah Chick-fil-A Friday
By Candice Freeland
PADUCAH, KY - Their signs read such things as "Peace Love Happiness," and "Gay is Okay." They were met with an occasional blast of support from passing drivers. They are protesting statements last week from Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathey, who said he believes that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.
Robert Courtney is among those making a presence at Chick-fil-A, but he says that protest may not be the best way to describe what they're trying to do.
"We don't think that it's correct for the CEO of a company to cut out ten to twenty percent of the population in terms of granting rights to civil unions...There is a public awareness that we're trying to make. That gay people are just people. Like everyone else, we love, we have relationships. We have jobs, we have 401k plans. We pay taxes. We have all the same obligations under the constitution, you know, all the same responsibilities. We just want the same rights."
In regard to it being a matter of Christian conviction, Courtney says that he too is a Christian.
"I've been a Christian since I was twelve years old, and I was taught John 3:16. 'For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son. That whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' It's almost like they're a little bit confused; that Christianity equates to being straight or to being this or being that, or not being this or that. But we're all sinners. Straight people, gay people, bisexual people, transgender. You know, we're saved by grace and not by works."
Even with the differences that can exist between people, Courtney speaks highly of local franchise owner, Mark Riley.
"I want to say that Mark Riley is a wonderful person. Mr. Riley is a fellow Christian, and he's a loving individual. He did come out and give us lemonade and offered us food."
He said that Riley knows Dan Cathey and has met with him on a number of occasions, adding that "Mr. Cathey loves us and loves the gay community." He said that Cathey has indicated dismay at the uproar that has occurred over his statement, and that he may not convey his private thoughts in public anymore.